Editor’s Note: This whisky was provided to us as a review sample by Diageo. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.
When it comes to shelling out upwards of a thousand dollars for a Scotch whisky, I imagine it’s imperative to know that the goods are worth the investment. This typically requires a previous knowledge of what makes a Scotch whisky valuable as well as a distillery with a well-established reputation, and Talisker is just that.
Many elements contribute to a Scotch whisky’s value. One reason is import costs, as Scotch is not made in the U.S., and there are taxes, tariffs, shipping costs, and other fees that affect the final price of the product for the customer. Another factor to consider when it comes to price is the quality of ingredients as Scotch is made from barley, a more expensive product to work with. Other factors affecting the price of Scotch include the slower aging process and high levels of demand. And perhaps the most important, especially when it comes to a very old whisky like this one, is that a significant portion of the contents of a cask evaporates over the course of several decades.
Based out of Carbost, Scotland, on the Isle of Skye, Talisker is a single malt Scotch whisky distillery operated by spirit industry titans Diageo. Established in 1830 by the MacAskill brothers, Talisker has gone through many transformations over its nearly 200 years of production, but one thing that hasn’t changed is the consistency of the whisky that Talisker produces.
Talisker 30 Year Single Malt Whisky is a rare cask-strength expression and is non-colored and non-chill filtered. Lieke Hompes, the Global Marketing Manager for Talisker, says of the expression, “These bottles come from highly limited casks that were selected and set aside due to its unique profile. Each bottle holds an individual number and its vintage year making it the perfect opportunity to build a progressive collection.”
Cask strength Scotch is special, entirely unadulterated (not diluted with water), and offers purity of flavor and maturation. Talisker 30 Year Single Malt Whisky is surprisingly lower ABV, coming in at 48.5%, and while it’s not the higher proof cask strength common in the United States, I found that the levels of dilution were perfect, allowing for a broad range of flavors to emerge.
Tasting Notes: Talisker 30 Year Single Malt Whisky
Vital Stats: 48.5% ABV/750 mL. SRP $999.99 (USD). American oak cask. Released 3,216 bottles globally/498 in the U.S.
Nose: The Scotch is peaty, smoky, beastly – like a cured meat. Then it opens up to the warm sweetness of dried fig.
Palate: The taste of vegetation, clover and bitter lemon peel, with coffee notes in the finish. The smokiness is surprisingly mellow and dry.
Absolutely perfect. I loved every moment of this tasting, and this comes from someone who isn’t always in the mood for Scotch. Of all the higher priced Scotch whiskies, this 30 year is a treat that I’m honored to have been able to experience.
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Jerry Jenae Sampson
Jerry Sampson is a freelance writer, editor and screenwriter. Her creative work is ever improved by her love of whiskey and craft cocktails. She enjoys taking cool fall days to explore the great distilleries around Portland to get a closer look at the inner workings of her favorite spirits.